GUYS. OMG. Stop what you're doing and READ THIS BOOK.
Yeah, I'm wigging out a bit. This review will be more on the informal side.
I regret getting the ebook version only because I can't lend it to friends and family. I think my brother would like this book. I think it's a book that adults, young adults, and new adults (whatever that term is supposed to mean) would like. I'm flipping out this Friday because yes, it really is THAT AWESOME. I mean, look at the dedication:
"This book is dedicated to the rule breakers, the troublemakers, and the revolutionaries. Sometimes the hand that feeds you needs a good bite."
Kira Walker became a medic because she wanted to make a difference. But on the maternity ward, all she does is watch the future of the human race die, one baby at a time.
Most of humanity was wiped out in the Partial War, when the organically engineered supersoldiers called Partials rebelled and released the RM virus. Kira is part of the 0.04% of humanity immune to RM. What's left of civilization is hiding on Long Island, but even that is starting to crumble. The "Voice of the People" rebels object to the Hope Act, which requires every girl to get pregnant at 18 in the hope of having a baby that will inherit immunity. Kira's almost 17, and the Senate is dropping the age again. Her boyfriend Marcus wants to marry her, but she doesn't want a future of dead children.
Kira wants a cure.
Unfortunately, the only people immune to RM are the Partials. When Kira's best friend conceives, however, she gets desperate enough to try the impossible: capturing one.
First of all, character. A lot of YA protagonists flip out and forget about everyone but themselves when they learn a devastating personal secret. Forget "strong female protagonists" -- Kira is probably the strongest and most empathetic protagonist I've ever read, period. Also, her strength doesn't magically disappear around her boyfriend or the hot new guy.
Like most post-apocalyptic fiction, Partials makes social commentary on modern issues. Materialism, the environment, teen pregnancy, fascism, terrorism, the military, medically approved rape, treatment of veterans, and race are all topics touched on -- but I never felt like I was being preached at.
Also, it's a relief to see a book that isn't populated entirely by the author's demographic (usually white). Because good luck getting me to believe that only white people were immune to the virus. I won't *hate* a book that doesn't have a diverse cast, but it is important. The representation of race in YA is really lopsided (aka, white).
And the science. YAAAAY SCIENCE. I know most of it is futuristic mostly-embellished science, but still. SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE. As a medic and an aspiring researcher, science is very important to Kira. Her research on the RM virus is described in a way that even mostly-science-illiterate people (like me), would find cool and quite easy to understand. I think Partials is the closest thing I've seen to "hard sf" in YA. It's also fun to see Kira's scientific curiosity at war with her sense of ethics.
Disregarding all that, the story itself is fantastic. Talk about raising the stakes. Talk about suspense. Yeesh. I'm not sure how to describe it without giving away spoilers, but...it's probably safe to say that Partials has everything I like in a book (except for dragons. No dragons).
And I'm already flipping out enough.